[QUOTE=MomBee;1026634]What I did last year in anticipation of free dinning, was I booked my vacation with room and tickets and no dinning. When free dinning was offered they were then able to just add it to my already booked package. If it hadn’t of come out then I could have just added dinning and they would have ajusted the cost. Also when I called to add the free dining they asked if I would like to upgrade to deluxe dinning.[/QUOTE]For future reference, it may be handy to know the following:
Having a pre-existing reservation does NOTHING to help you book free dining.
If you have a reservation, and I have no reservation whatsoever, we are on totally equal footing when it comes to booking free dining. In other words, it doesn’t help to “squat” on a room in hopes of free dining. In fact, surprisingly, it can HURT your overall chances of getting free dining while staying at that resort. Please let me explain …
The offer of free Disney Dining Plan is a result of Disney deciding that they haven’t sold enough rooms and they want to sell more. So they offer something for free (the DDP) in the hopes that room sales will increase.
But when they offer a promo like free DDP, it isn’t an across-the-board “every room’s on sale” situation. The Disney suits decide on a super secret occupancy rate. Let’s just pretend it’s 90% (I have no blessed idea what the actual percentage is, and I have no idea if it varies by resort or room-type).
So here’s the deal. Let’s just pretend, for ease, that they offer the free DDP during the entire month of September. They look at each room category within each resort for each day in September … well, the computer looks at it for them. For any given day, if a specific room category in a specific resort already has more than 90% occupancy, then that room-type at that resort on that date or dates is not available with the free DDP promo.
And that makes sense, right? They’re offering the DDP to boost sales. But if a certain type of room is already selling great, then they have no need to give stuff away to sell more of that type of room, right?
So let’s say you already have a reservation for Sept. 1-7, and you hear they announced free DDP for September. You call 407-W-DISNEY. They don’t tell you, “OK, because you called, you can have free dining.” What they do is query the computer database to see if there are any rooms available for your existing room category in your resort for those dates … it’s as if they are looking up for a whole new reservation. If the occupancy rate for those dates/room-type/resort is already at 90% or higher, then you won’t be able to book the free DDP.
THAT is why having a pre-existing reservation does nothing to give you an edge in booking the free DDP.
And that is why if everyone “squatted” on rooms in hopes of snagging the free DDP, Disney would never offer the free DDP anymore because they’d be sitting back very satisfied with themselves saying, “Wow, we’re already sold out for September. That means there’s no need to offer the free DDP to sell more rooms … there are no more rooms to sell!”
Quick example. Let’s say you and I want to travel on exactly the same dates, at exactly the same resort in exactly the same room category. You made a reservation a few months ago, I don’t have a reservation. And then a free DDP promo is announced! Let’s pretend that as of 2:00 p.m. the occupancy rate for our dates/room-type/resort is teetering at 89.9% … one more room gets booked and the occupancy rate will be over the limit for the free DDP to be offered. I call at 2:00 p.m. and make a brand new reservation that includes the free DDP. YOU call at 2:10 p.m. and are told, “Sorry, the free DDP isn’t available for your reservation.”
A good cast member, however, will dig around for you and find out that you could get the free DDP if you switch room types or switch resorts or something like that.
There’s more good news. Let’s say that, in the above example, my reservation caused the occupancy rate to go to 90.5% You called later and were told you can’t get the free DDP at that resort, but you can get it at a different resort, one you’ll accept but you don’t really love. Then let’s say a few weeks later I cancel my reservation, and there were no other new reservatoins made since I booked. The occupancy rate has now dipped below 90%, and therefore the free DDP is again available for your original room-type/dates/resort. THAT is why if you don’t get the free DDP, you should call back every day, even a few times a day, in hopes of switching back to your preferred resort/room-type.
Confused yet? Please, post again and let’s talk.